>While I keep hearing about books about zombies, what I keep seeing are books about post-apocalyptic survival. Which makes me wonder if there’s less of a future in e-books than people are saying.
I got a reminder of simpler terrors this morning on the subway, where I was listening to the new audio edition of Mary Downing Hahn’s Wait Till Helen Comes. The narration was not great, sounding kind of like an irritating fifth-grader who insists on reading aloud for a period longer than her audience has patience for, but it made me wonder if the stark frights of this book are best conveyed from the page directly into the reader’s head, no batteries required. As it was, I was still scaring myself silly. Too many children’s-book-ghosts are funny, or misunderstood, but not the one in this book. And I can’t think of another children’s book that actually has its heroine confront fears of mortality and existential obliteration. (Well, there is that scene in Seven Little Australians where the girl dies screaming about her fear of death. No Beth March, she.)
The fact that Helen so consistently wins children’s-choice awards across the country gives me hope for the future: kids who can handle it are exactly the kind I want around to take care of things when the lights go out.